“A Veritable Explosion of Life”: MY ANTONIA, Book V Ch. I

The boys escorted us to the front of the house, which I hadn’t yet seen; in farmhouses, somehow, life comes and goes by the back door. The roof was so steep that the eaves were not much above the forest of tall hollyhocks, now brown and in seed. Through July, Antonia said, the house was buried in them; the Bohemians, I remembered, always planted hollyhocks. The front yard was enclosed by a thorny locust hedge, and at the gate grew two silvery, moth-like trees of the mimosa family. From here one looked down over the cattle yards, with their long ponds, and over a wide stretch of stubble which they told me was a rye-field in summer.

At some distance behind the house were an ash grove and two orchards; a cherry orchard, with gooseberry and currant bushes between the rows, and an apple orchard, sheltered by a hot hedge from the high winds.

Such poetic writing! So beautiful! Self can’t even . . .

Jim Burden: MY ANTONIA, Book II, Ch. VII

I walked home with Antonia. We were so excited that we dreaded to go to bed. We lingered a long while at the Harlings’ gate, whispering in the cold until the restlessness was slowly chilled out of us.

Samson and the Piano: MY ANTONIA, Book II, Ch. VII

Self’s mother attended Curtis as an 11-year-old who had never, ever left the Philippines before.

So when she reads the below passage in My Antonia, she is practically in tears:

They found he had absolute pitch, and a remarkable memory. As a very young child he could repeat, after a fashion, any composition that was played for him. No matter how many wrong notes he struck, he never lost the intention of a passage, he brought the substance of it across by irregular and astonishing means. He wore his teachers out. He could never learn like other people, never acquired any finish.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

LENA: MY ANTONIA, Book II Ch. IV

Lena lived in the Norwegian settlement west of Squaw Creek, and she used to herd her father’s castle in the open country between his place and the Shimerdas’. Whenever we rode over in that direction we saw her out among her cattle, bareheaded and barefooted, scantily dressed in tattered clothing, always knitting as she watched her herd. Before I knew Lena, I thought of her as something wild, that always lived on the prairie, because I had never seen her under a roof. Her yellow hair was burned into a ruddy thatch on her head; but her legs and arms, curiously enough, in spite of constant exposure to the sun, kept a miraculous whiteness which somehow made her seem more undressed than other girls who went scantily clad. The first time I stopped to talk to her, I was astonished at her soft voice and easy, gentle ways. The girls out there usually got rough and mannish after they went to herding. 

pioneerwoman5

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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